Saturday, October 24, 2009

Now Hear This! - Vol. 3

You know how this goes by now: a bunch of earworms that you might've missed out on, some of which are oldies, others more recent. I try to make sure you can find them all as individual tracks online, and I tell you which albums they're on if you want more than one song. Songs from albums or EP's I've already reviewed on One Note Ahead are not eligible.

Let's do this!


"Polite Society," Maia Sharp (available on Echo)

I found out about this artist because she was supposed to open for The Guggenheim Grotto here in Philly. That ultimately didn't happen, but I did get to discover this fantastic slab of impossibly sweet-sounding angry rock 'n' roll. The biting lyrics ("The greater good you go on about has been redefined to keep everyone out") are offset by smooth vocals and a melody that could've come out of the Brill Building. A must-hear for fans of female singer/songwriters, but it has great potential to appeal to a much wider audience.

"Lost and Found," Victor Victor Band (available on Chatterbox)

Like The White Stripes but better. Hyperbole? Damning with faint praise? Check out Philly-based couple Jamie and Danielle Victor and decide for yourself. Personally, I'll reconsider my opinion when Meg White can play keys and drums at the same time like Danielle does. I honestly cannot explain why this particular track from their current album stands out to me. I just know that I can't get it out of my head. And hey, ONA loyalists, did I mention that Andrew Lipke produced it?

"Once Was Love," Ingrid Michaelson (available on Everybody)

You might recall that Ingrid was a major ONA darling last year. Of all the songs on her new album, "Maybe" was chosen as the lead single, "Soldier" became the opening track, "Everybody" lent its title to the album, and "The Chain" seems to be the pick hit in my circle -- at least among the ladies! All those songs have their merits, but "Once Was Love" leapt out at me like no other track on the album: a hypnotic, slightly sharp-tongued ode to love gone cold, with Ms. Michaelson doing some unusual vocal acrobatics over an arrangement that at times sounds like it was copied from the Philly soul playbook. Ingrid, if you're reading, you might want to consider this as a single.

And now, a bonus: I told you that ONA favorite Jake Snider was releasing a new EP called The Seven. It's been available at his shows and is supposed to get an online release later this fall, but if you can't wait, check out the amazing "All You Need," a standout track which is streaming on Jake's MySpace page now.


"You Won't Forget Me," Jackie De Shannon (available on What The World Needs Now Is...Jackie De Shannon - The Definitive Collection)

Jackie De Shannon sure had a lot going against her, writing and singing serious pop, folk-rock, and soul songs at a time when white female singers weren't supposed to write their own material, sing serious music, or sing soul music. And folk-rock wasn't a recognized style, either. Think I'm exaggerating? Perhaps a bit, but Jackie sure was a trailblazer. Take "You Won't Forget Me," a sophisticated pop composition in which the female protagonist takes an empowered stance against her cheating lover. Powerful stuff for 1962 -- too powerful, probably, for radio at the time.

"Little By Little," Dusty Springfield (available on Dusty Springfield Gold)

Well, I had to go from one trailblazing woman to another! Dusty was so influenced by American music that it's easy to forget she was from the UK, where she had much more chart success than she did here. For example, "Little By Little" was stuck on a B-side in the US, while her UK label recognized it as hit material and released it as an A-side. It's a bouncy Motownish number with a great melody, but let's remember that Dusty was a great interpreter of song. In this case, she injected the lyrics with a lot of fire while also retaining the cool, understated feel the melody demanded. A delicate balance, to be sure, but she nailed it.

"Turn Up Your Radio," The Masters Apprentices (available on Fully Qualified - The Choicest Cuts)

Though it is under-recognized worldwide, Australia has a colorful rock 'n' roll history of its own. The Masters Apprentices were one of the top Aussie rock acts of all time, and "Turn Up Your Radio" was one of their most beloved hits. The 1960s were turning into the 1970s, and rock was getting louder and heavier. These Apprentices edged into near-metal territory with a song whose lyrics paid homage to early rock 'n' roll of the 1950s! Somehow, it worked. Loud, raunchy, crude, and brilliant, this song reminds us all that no matter how the music changes, rock 'n' roll is still rock 'n' roll.

I hope these earworms keep you entertained for now.

Copyright © 2009 S.J. Dibai. All rights reserved.
S.J. Dibai on MySpace - One Note Ahead on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.